Parents who are separated may face major concerns regarding the safety of their children when it comes to sharing custody during COVID-19. A parent who is a health-care worker may become exposed to the novel virus and show no symptoms. If this is the case in your co-parenting situation, you may be curious as to whether you can keep your children from that parent.
In this situation, the answer is no. Blocking visitation can lead to criminal charges being filed against you. This is because you are required to uphold your custody agreement even in a state of emergency, as the government has directed that children of divorce will be allowed to move between households during the pandemic. However, you may be able to change the terms of your arrangement to help ensure that your child does not become infected with the Coronavirus.
If you do not feel comfortable with your children spending time with your ex, tell them that. Your co-parent may have the same concerns given the duties of their job as a healthcare worker. This conversation is an opportunity for you and your ex to reach an agreement on what is in the best interests of your children moving forward.
While it is unlikely that your co-parent will agree to not seeing the children at all, they may be comfortable with only corresponding with the kids via FaceTime during the pandemic. If not, you could also propose that your co-parent comes to your house to see the children if you are worried about the kids going to your ex’s residence.
If you and your co-parent struggle to reach an agreement, you may pursue legal action with an attorney’s help. In Georgia, you need to prove to the court that an emergency custody order is in the best interest of your children. If you cannot prove this, the judge will not approve your request for custody, and you will be mandated to follow the existing custody agreement.
To begin the process for emergency custody, you are required to provide basic information about yourself, your ex, and your children, as well as your reasons for seeking emergency custody. After submitting this form, a hearing will be heard virtually. If approved, this order will only be in effect for 30 days from when it is issued.
Co-parenting during times of uncertainty may be difficult, especially when both parents disagree about what is best for their children. If you or somebody you love is worried about sharing custody with an individual who may have been exposed to COVID-19 given their job duties, consider contacting a lawyer from our team to discuss your options. The attorneys at the Atlanta Divorce Law Group have experience with custody agreements and may be able to provide you comfort regarding your situation. Call us today.